Spaulding Promises $1M in Charlestown Mitigation
As part of the development agreement for construction of the new hospital in the Navy Yard, funding is being made available for community groups and programs.
[UPDATED Thursday, Feb. 28, 1:03 p.m.]
Spaulding Rehabilitation Network has promised the Charlestown community more than $1 million in funding support over the next five years as a sort of thank you for allowing the new building to be constructed in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
At a public meeting held Monday, Feb. 25, representatives from the hospital presented plans for the mitigation funds, answered questions about parking, traffic and transportation and shared details about the facility’s cafeteria, which will be open daily to the public.
“Overall, it was very positive, very upbeat,” Spaulding spokeswoman Rebecca Kaiser said of the meeting. “I think we were all pleasantly surprised that the community felt it was a very thorough, comprehensive plan and that we’d answered the community questions up front.”
Close to 100 local residents turned out for a tour of the new hospital prior to the meeting, and more than half stayed to hear the update at what Kaiser said was likely the final construction meeting now that the hospital is transitioning to operational mode.
An open house is scheduled for Sunday, April 21 from 1-5 p.m., and patients are scheduled to move into the new facility on Saturday, April 27.
The decision to award the community $1 million in mitigation funds stems from a conversation that began at the beginning of the development process, Kaiser said.
“We knew the hospital would have an impact on the Charlestown community,” Kaiser said. “And we knew that we would be making a financial contribution to mitigate those impacts and to benefit the community in a more lasting way [beyond the services the hospital offers].”
The plan calls for Spaulding Rehabilitation Network to contribute $500,000 over the next five years to be given to the community through the Charlestown Neighborhood Council’s mitigation funding process, in which organizations apply for grants annually and have their applications reviewed by a subcommittee made up of CNC members, all of whom are Charlestown residents. This grant money will support the goals of the community health assessment recently completed by Partners HealthCare and Massachusetts General Hospital, and the awarding of the funds would adhere to strict conflicts of interest policies, with oversight by Spaulding, Kaiser said.
In addition, $500,000 will also be awarded over five years to the Charlestown Health Assessment Collaborative, a newly formed community group that has been involved with the health assessment process and will continue to act as a go-between for the various community health organizations in Charlestown, Kaiser said.
Spaulding Rehabilitation Network will also support Charlestown in other ways, maintaining community sponsorships and spending about $80,000 annually on programs such as community health fairs, summer job programs for local youth, concussion clinics for youth sports and grant-writing assistance to Charlestown-based nonprofits, Kaiser said.
As for the Community Health Assessment, administrators hope to hold a community “unveiling” this spring to present the results of that study to Charlestown residents, Kaiser said.
Look for more on the Spaulding project, including an updated transportation plan and details about the cafeteria, later this week on Patch.